Bryan Colangelo has had a mostly successful first offseason in charge of the Sixers, but most league observers are still waiting for the executive to execute a deal clearing the Sixers logjam in the frontcourt. If a report from CSN New England is to be believed, Jahlil Okafor might be the player who eventually gets moved.
Courtesy of A. Sherrod Blakely:
The consensus among league executives spoken to by CSNNE.com is that the most likely trade for Boston will be one in which they wind up with Philadelphia’s Jahlil Okafor.
"From the moment Philly drafted Ben [Simmons], everyone around the league knew that they would have to trade a big, either Okafor or Nerlens [Noels]," an NBA scout told CSNNE.com. "Okafor is the better scorer; it’s not even close really. But Nerlens has that ability to run the floor and can protect the rim. Those two qualities . . . you can’t have enough guys in the frontcourt who call those two skills, strengths. That’s why Okafor is the more expendable player."
The two teams were reportedly close to getting a deal done on draft night, and league sources claim both have kept the door ajar to getting a deal done between now and the start of training camp.
Boston is going to keep popping up in rumors involving the Sixers. Despite their signing of Al Horford, the Celtics are still searching for a star player to push their roster filled with nice pieces to the next level. Even with his flaws on the defensive end, someone like Okafor theoretically offers that sort of upside.
The door being "ajar" for this move is an interesting development given the reaction of both sides following this year’s NBA Draft. Boston’s owner famously bristled at how terrible the trade offers were for their No. 3 pick, while Colangelo has stated on multiple occasions that the Sixers won’t make a deal just to make one. Even though a trade would make sense for both sides, neither has appeared publicly close to pulling the trigger.
Philadelphia’s window to get an appealing deal done involving their big men probably won’t be open for long. The organization isn’t interested in a frontcourt trainwreck like last season, so it wouldn’t be a shock to see a big move go down before the season starts.